First Stop, Akaroa. By Mark
26.02.2009 - 27.02.2009 16 °C
Arriving at The Britz van hire office just down from the airport at 11:00 am, fresh faced and excited by the thought of tearing off to explore this beautiful country, we were met with queues and a lot of waiting around.
Finally getting called up we sorted out the paper work, forked over the cash and awaited the handing over of our keys...and waited...and waited. Finally being handed the keys to an estate car to allow us to pick up our bags from the hotel and stop off to get some supplies for the van whilst our van was being preped we set off for a minor detour.
Coming back a few hours later (we also stopped to take in the Christchurch museum) we were left to wait again. Just as we were about to kick off regarding the delay we heard the words every traveller longs to hear, "How about a free upgrade?". It seems that they'd over sold the particular van we'd been waiting for and had been busily trying to rustle up a replacement van of the same level from somewhere - to no avail they were left with the only option of parting with a much larger, more spanky VW long wheel based van with it's own toilet, shower and microwave, thank you very much!
We of course played it cool ;o)
The Beast (as she's affectionally called due to her behmoth size) sorted and loaded we were off to our first port of call Akaroa, just an hour or so East of Christchurch.
Akaora was initally settled by the French and many of the roads still have the old Rue Brittan signs and some of the oringal French inspired archietecture is still around, a cute town with a number of organised tours to see dolphins and penguins which are on the doorstep. Our full day in town was unfortunately wet, windy and grey and so we made do with a wander through the town, browsing in the shops and taking in the beautiful surroundings.